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Top Wall Street Analysts Pick Their Favorite Stocks as Earnings Season Winds Down

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

It seems each passing trading session brings a torrent of quarterly earnings and sharp swings for the stocks of the companies reporting results.

Positive prints can have stocks jumping low volume trading in the after hours or selling off premarket as profit takers move in. In general, trading in the short term is dramatically more unpredictable, while long-term outlooks can provide more stable trajectories for stocks.

Top analysts have highlighted these five companies, most of which have reported their latest quarterly earnings, according to TipRanks, which tracks the best-performing stock pickers.

Ford

To be a major auto manufacturer in the midst of a months-long global semiconductor shortage is not an enviable position. However, Ford Motor (F) managed to weather the storm throughout the third quarter and print impressive earnings results. The company has been ambitiously moving toward a comprehensive electric vehicle (EV) pipeline and has several other promising opportunities up its sleeve. (See Ford Stock Analysis on TipRanks) 

Philippe Houchois of Jefferies wrote that Ford's upcoming product mix will help it continue driving valuation gains. He added that "industry leading product activity, structural cost reductions and a lower margin starting point (to-date) should better enable Ford to offset normalization in our view."  

Houchois rated the stock a Buy and raised his price target from $17 to $20.  

The analyst was encouraged by management's tone during the company's earnings call. He believes that Ford's leadership is maneuvering tactically in uncertain industry waters and is managing inventory well with its built-to-order strategy.  

There is a gap between Ford's current valuation and its gross margins, and Houchois believes the legacy automaker has upside to its share price. He mentioned that "many strategic levers remain available to improve market and product exposure" and that the company's healthy balance sheet will provide sufficient leverage to execute on its EV aspirations.  

Out of more than 7,000 analysts, TipRanks has rated Houchois as No. 304. His stock picks have resulted in success 64% of the time, and his average return per rating stands at 31.6%.  

Coursera

While the Covid-19 pandemic spread across the world, individuals who were stuck at home looked to the internet for time-occupying activities. It seems that nearly every cloud or internet-based business boomed over the last year and a half. This is also true for the online learning platform, Coursera (COUR), which released impressive third-quarter earnings recently. (See Coursera News Sentiment on TipRanks) 

Ryan MacDonald of Needham & Co. reported that Coursera had a strong quarter of ramped-up business performance, aided by record numbers of enrolled students. He added that the firm's results and guidance "highlight the company's strong and improving fundamental profile and exposure to attractive end market trends."  

MacDonald rated the stock a Buy and denoted a price target of $45. 

The analyst was confident on the company due to the tough comparisons it went up against quarter-over-quarter. He said that Coursera's success shows "the strength of the B2B end market."  

The growing number of users over the third quarter was particularly significant due to the waning of pandemic-related restrictions. Coursera's pipeline is expected by MacDonald to continue driving valuation gains.  

MacDonald is ranked by TipRanks as No. 169 out of over 7,000 financial analysts. He has a success rate of 66%, and his ratings have returned an average of 48.8% per rating.  

Caesars Entertainment

Caesars Entertainment (CZR) had an productive third quarter, as noted in its recent earnings release. Its properties in Las Vegas carried the firm and solidified analysts' confidence in its brick-and-mortar business.  

Carlo Santarelli of Deutsche Bank reported that the company is "off to a strong start in Las Vegas" for the fourth quarter, and it's expected to see a favorable season ahead. He mentioned that Caesars' marketing campaigns have been successful in bringing in new bookings and raising revenue. (See Caesars Entertainment Website Traffic on TipRanks) 

The bullish analyst rated the stock a Buy and assigned a price target of $132 per share.  

In addition to its traditional hotel and casino streams, Caesars is experiencing bullish trends in its sports-gaming services. Moreover, the company's online sports-betting license in New York State may receive regulatory approval, which would act as a catalyst for upside.  

Furthermore, Santarelli noted a possible asset sale in the first half of the 2022 fiscal year. This could include a property in Las Vegas and would help ease the firm's balance sheet.  

Out of more than 7,000 analysts, Santarelli is ranked No. 102. He has a success rate of 71%, and his stock picks have returned an average of 42.8%.  

Lithium Americas

Batteries are a central piece of the puzzle as electric vehicle adoption grows. Battery production costs have contributed to high prices on the majority of electric vehicles, and it is vital for EV makers to maintain a steady supply of lithium carbonate in order to keep up with heavy demand. A significant portion of the light metal is mined in Argentina, where Lithium Americas (LAC) has offered to acquire another lithium manufacturer. (See Lithium Americas Stock Charts on TipRanks) 

The large lithium miner's situation was detailed in a report from Laurence Alexander of Jefferies, who wrote that the offer made to absorb Millennial Lithium (MLNLF) would vastly expand LAC's operations in the element rich Salta Province in northern Argentina. He added that Millennial's properties sit on about 40 years' worth of deposits of "battery-quality lithium carbonate."  

Alexander rated the stock a Buy and calculated a price target of $34. This target came as a significant raise from his previous at $22 per share.  

The proposed acquisition would provide Lithium Americas with enough leverage to properly meet the exponentially growing demand for the mined resource. If miners are to capitalize on the wide supply and demand gap, Alexander expects them to "rally 6-12 months" before the "balance tightens."  

However, it is important to note that LAC's upside hinges on several macroeconomic factors outside of its control. Regulatory sentiment toward EVs, South American tax policies, and severe weather events can all affect production costs and output.  

Alexander has earned himself a position of No. 447 out of over 7,000 other analysts. He has been successful 64% of the time, and has an average return of 17.1%. 

Steve Madden

Shoe and fashion retailer Steve Madden (SHOO) blew past Wall Street consensus estimates on both earnings per share and revenue. The company has been experiencing high levels of sales, aided by its e-commerce streams. The retailer and its brands are poised for upside, according to Sam Poser of Williams Trading. (See Steve Madden Risk Factors on TipRanks) 

Poser expressed his bullish sentiment on the stock by rating it a Buy and stating a price target of $59.  

The analyst believes that the indicators are signaling a high level of demand for Steve Madden's offerings, and he believes its brands have a bright future in both the short and long term. The company has been mitigating the effect of supply-side constraints and efficiently managing its inventories. Poser mentioned that "in the face of supply chain disruptions, SHOO is keeping its relative speed to market advantage and gaining market share." 

In addition to the company's loyal base, its marketing department has been successful in driving engagement with new customers. By taking a page from its own ad book, the new "Maddenverse" campaign has created nostalgia for the previous generation of buyers and inspired interest in younger groups. Speaking more generally, Poser commended the company for its "chameleon-like ability to deliver trend right product."  

Beyond these positive attributes, Poser expects the current weight of amplified shipping and logistics costs to give way to better margins and higher profits.  

TipRanks has calculated Poser as No. 112 out of more than 7,000 professional analysts. He has been successful in his ratings 61% of the time, and collectively they have averaged returns of 55.3% per rating.  

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